LINCOLN, Maine — Employees at four West Broadway businesses came to work Friday and found that once again they were victims of burglars who stole an undetermined amount of cash, police said.
Police believe that the same crew of three to 10 individuals who are responsible for as many as a dozen break-ins around town within the last month hit Mainely Rent to Own at 157 West Broadway overnight Thursday. Store workers reported the crime at 7 a.m., police and town officials said.
Responding officers found that an insurance company, F.A. Peabody Co., a hair salon and a U.S. Cellular store, all across the street from Rent to Own, were also burglarized overnight. The same victims were hit on Aug. 12, police said.
The burglars left broken windows and other evidence in the businesses that investigators hope will lead to arrests, Sgt. Glenn Graef said.
“There was tons of fingerprint and DNA evidence,” Graef said Friday.
Lincoln police formed a task force with state police and the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department to investigate the eight burglaries, Town Manager William Lawrence has said.
On Friday, Graef and Officer Anthony Redmond took broken windows, a chair and other items from the four buildings that carried fingerprint, footprint and DNA evidence discovered by Detective Mark Fucile. State police Trooper David Yankowski helped with evidence gathering, Fucile said.
Fucile said he will take evidence collected Friday to the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory in Augusta for analysis next week.
Investigators hope that lab technicians will find matches from that evidence, and evidence taken from the burglaries on Aug. 12, with samples taken from several burglary suspects. Lab workers have promised to get to the Lincoln cases quickly, Graef said.
“It’s just a question of what the lab comes back with at this point,” Graef said. “They definitely have us on the front burner.”
Lincoln’s business owners seem well-aware of the burglaries and are tightening their buildings’ security. Many have decreased the cash stored overnight that is needed to open their businesses daily. Others have started shopping for security alarms, Graef said.
“All these business owners talk,” Graef said. “They already know what the deal is before I get there.”
The rash of burglaries is the first reported in Lincoln in several months. Fucile and Graef worked for most of the day Friday despite being on vacation, Lawrence said.
“That’s their job and they know that. Public safety is not a 9-5 job,” said Lawrence, a former police chief, detective and patrolman with decades of experience in Lincoln, Bangor and the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department. “When emergencies arise, our days off and vacations get lost. It shows their commitment to the community and to trying to ensure public safety.”
Anyone with information about the burglaries, or who seeks to know how to better protect their property, is asked to call police at 794-8455.